Last year, in one of the most controversial moves since, well, the last time Metallica did anything, U.S. deathcore titans Suicide Silence announced their new album was going to be "more than 70% clean vocals" and the internet almost broke. Furthermore, you could feel the entire worldwide web grind to a halt when the band released the first taster of their new direction with the single "Doris" - or was that grinding the sound of teeth gnashing as the band's fanbase got the first taste of Eddie Hermida's clean vocals? Well, the album is here now and while the vitriol and furore haven't subsided, it's time to see if the group's controversial new direction justifies the aggression shown towards it.
Well, having given it a spin now for a few days, it's definitely one that is going to split fans. The Ross Robinson-produced affair kicks off with the aforementioned "Doris" and, while many fans of Suicide Silence will already be either skipping or stopping at this point, it's fair to say that, if you do spin on further, you'll find yourself listening to guys that are so far removed from their pig-squeal/deathcore roots that you could really be listening to an entirely different band. Aside from the clean vocals, much has been also made about the nu-metal direction of the guitar sound but, even picking at that doesn't scratch the tip of this very controversial iceberg.
Firstly, before we go any further, fair play to the band for trying something new but, listening to the self-titled affair, you can see very much why the fans have got the hump. That's not to say it isn't good - some of it is very good - it's just a challenge to listen to. From the Mike Patton-inspired vocals on "Listen" to the raw chaos of "Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down", there isn't a moment on this album that won't leave you scratching your head. Elsewhere "Dying In A Red Room" and "Conformity" see the band try their hand at a slower style - Mitch Lucker fans were last seen punching small children in disgust - but, give them a chance as they're both solid efforts. For those who want heavy, thankfully for you, the album does sign off with the brutal, raw "Don't Be Careful You Might Hurt Yourself."
The band have made no bones about the shift in style on Suicide Silence and, as I've said, you can see why their fans are split over the move. Any shift in sound for an established act is a brave move and the Deftones / Mike Patton / Korn inspiration is definitely that. However, while it hits as much as it misses the spot, you can't fault the band for going for it and, with Ross Robinson egging them on, you should give the full album a spin because you might just dig it.
Suicide Silence Track Listing:
04. Dying in a Red Room
05. Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down
07. The Zero
09. Don’t Be Careful, You Might Hurt Yourself